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By Evelyn Covarrubias
One of the many benefits of living in the current digital age is how easy it is to stay connected to others without being physically around them. For that reason, companies are taking full advantage of “living in the Cloud” and hiring employees from remote locations or providing their employees with the option to work from home. As someone who works from home occasionally, I can attest that it’s a great benefit. Not to mention, the couch to workspace commute is a dream come true. I mean, as an LA resident, the sole idea of avoiding the overly congested freeways is music to my ears.
Everything sounds great right up until your neighbor decides to turn on every power tool known to man and a casual scroll through Twitter leads you into a black hole of Buzzfeed quizzes. It’s very easy to become a victim of distractions. However, working from home every once in a while is a luxury that companies afford us. As modern professionals, it’s our responsibility to try to block out the noise and remain productive. Here are some proven tips that have helped create a successful home office environment:
Hold Yourself Accountable
This is the most important step. Working from home comes with lots of freedom and you are in charge of holding yourself accountable. Set standards and boundaries for yourself and try your best to be your own personal manager. Never stop pushing yourself to stay on top of tasks.
Structure Your Day
We’ve heard this since grade school, and it still holds so much truth: fail to plan, plan to fail. Plan out your day just like you would a day in the office. Try to stay on schedule and create time segments with specific tasks and breaks throughout the day. You can even use an online calendar to create personal events and reminders that tell you when to shift gears and begin new tasks.
Stick to Your Morning Routine
Start your day like any other workday. Pretend like you are heading into the office to help create a mental association with a day of work. Stick to your morning regime, whether it’s to exercise, take a shower or pump some coffee into your system. This way you are mentally prepared for a workday and are not thrown off by a new routine.
Separate Work Space From Home Space
Photo credit: Freehold in Williamsburg. Photo: Riley Spencer
Try to stay away from any space associated with leisure; yes, that means get off your comfy couch or bed. Just because you are not going into the office does not mean you can’t have an office–well, an office-dedicated space. Select a room or area that is bare of distractions and make that your dedicated work area. If that still doesn’t do the trick, it’s time for you to work from home, but not at home. Find a cool (but quiet) coffee shop, cafe or library that has wi-fi and will allow you to concentrate on your work. If there is a spot with a nice view that you can work from, don’t hesitate to go there. You will feel incredibly grateful to your company for allowing that to be your office for the day.
Stay Connected, But Not Too Connected
Photo Credit: Slack
Working from home can be made simple by video-conferencing, file-sharing resources like Google Drive and real-time messaging and organization tools like Slack. Leverage these programs to stay connected to your coworkers and chat with them throughout the day to feel like you’re not missing out on anything happening in the office.
Just because you didn’t have to drive to work in the morning doesn’t mean you should feel guilty about taking a small break in between tasks. When you start finding yourself getting distracted, instead of opening the YouTube app and zoning out into your phone, go outside and take a walk and clear your mind for a bit. You can also take a quick drive to a local coffee shop for an afternoon pick-me-up. When you return, you should feel refreshed and ready to immerse yourself back into your work.